By using AWS, Brigade Group expects to reduce the TCO for SAP S/4HANA by 25% over the next five years.
Nilesh Patel Head of IT, Brigade Group
  • Brigade Group needed a highly available, cost-effective, and scalable IT infrastructure to run its SAP solution
  • The company is running its SAP S/4HANA solution on AWS
  • Reduces expected IT TCO by 25 percent over five years
  • Increases speed of business reporting by 20 percent
  • Enhances decision-making capabilities of executives
  • Gains zero downtime with always-on cloud infrastructure

Founded in 1986, Brigade Group is a residential and commercial property developer in India. Headquartered in Bangalore, the company has branch offices in several cities in South India, as well as an office in Dubai and an accredited agent in the United States. The business has a diverse multi-domain portfolio that covers property development, property-management services, hospitality, and education. At the end of 2016, Brigade Group reported revenues of Rs 572 crores (US$89 million) for the third quarter of its financial year.

Brigade Group wanted to upgrade its SAP enterprise resource planning (ERP) environment to SAP S/4HANA. This latest iteration of the SAP Business Suite enables companies to build reports on data from their internal systems in real time. The SAP solution is also designed to integrate with data sources such as sensors to support Internet of Things (IoT) architectures for big-data analysis. With the real-time reporting features in SAP S/4HANA, Brigade Group was keen to upgrade to the latest SAP solution. Nilesh Patel, head of IT at Brigade Group, explains, “The business can be working on 30 property development projects at any one time. Instant reports based on the latest project data would help executives in their decision-making processes.”

Brigade Group needed a new IT infrastructure on which to run the SAP S/4HANA solution. For Patel, the new infrastructure had to be cloud-based. He wanted to move away from Brigade Group’s existing on-premises model, where he needed to replace the hardware every three to five years. In migrating the SAP platform to the cloud, Patel also hoped to lower the company’s capital expenditure (CAPEX) and thus reduce the environment’s total cost of ownership (TCO). Furthermore, Brigade Group wanted to gain the scalability to ramp up its infrastructure easily to meet business needs. “The cloud offered us an ‘always on’ form of computing to deliver a mission-critical environment in a highly cost-effective way,” he says.

After considering other cloud-service vendors, Brigade Group chose Amazon Web Services (AWS). “What separated AWS from the rest was its ease of use. The AWS Management Console, for example, has a well-designed user interface and we needed little training,” says Patel. During the engagement, the AWS team highlighted the SAP-certified AWS SAP S/4HANA reference architectures’ availability. Says Patel, “We saw the high availability built in to AWS SAP S/4HANA deployments through the use of AWS regions and Availability Zones to prevent downtime. The security of the AWS Cloud gave us peace of mind.”  

Brigade Group worked with AWS Partner Network (APN) Advanced Consulting Partner Crimson Cloud to size the AWS SAP S/4HANA environment to best meet the needs of Brigade Group. Crimson Cloud built the AWS SAP S/4HANA environment and migrated data from the existing on-premises SAP ERP environment to the new infrastructure on the AWS Cloud.

The SAP S/4HANA environment sits inside an Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC), which offers highly secure integration between the cloud environment and Brigade Group on-premises systems. The company uses Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances to provide the processing power, memory, and input/output (I/O) capabilities for real-time processing of the ERP data. This data is presented to personnel in the form of reports, covering areas such as cash flows, invoicing, and levels of inventory. Attached to the Amazon EC2 instances are Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS) volumes, which Brigade Group also supports SAP workloads. The infrastructure also relies on Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) to store environment backups. The team managing the environment uses AWS CloudFormation to administer the AWS infrastructure’s resources.

Brigade Group has achieved its goals of upgrading to SAP S/4HANA and generating business reports in close near-real time. “We are providing executives with instant reports based on the latest project data to help them make sure projects run on time and on budget. We can deliver reports to them at least 20 percent faster with SAP S/4HANA running on the AWS Cloud than if it ran on-premises,” says Patel.

Patel is also delivering on his plan to start moving the company’s IT environment away from an on-premises model to the AWS Cloud. By doing so, Patel has lowered the company’s CAPEX and pays for only the IT the platform consumes. Patel says, “The TCO for our SAP S/4HANA environment is less compared with our on-premises SAP environment, because we no longer have the same CAPEX costs. By using AWS, Brigade Group expects to reduce the TCO for SAP S/4HANA by 25 percent over the next five years.”

By migrating to the AWS Cloud, Brigade Group can easily scale up the SAP S/4HANA environment to meet business needs. “Because our SAP S/4HANA infrastructure is in the cloud, we can provision additional compute power or storage in minutes instead of days or weeks with an on-premises platform,” says Patel.

In addition, since the SAP environment went live on the AWS Cloud, there has been zero downtime. Patel says, “By running our SAP S/4HANA infrastructure, we have an ‘always on’ computing platform that is highly redundant, incorporating multiple AWS regions and Availability Zones to maintain availability.”

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